Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 218–225 | Cite as

ARTMEM—An interactive graphical program simulating membrane potential measurements across artificial membranes

  • Peter H. Barry


This paper describes ARTMEM, an interactive graphical simulation program, and its use for teaching students the concept of membrane potentials and the measurement of electrical potentials across an ion-selective membrane. The program, written in Borland C++, and specifically designed for IBM-PC-compatible equipment, can also run on fast Macintosh computers using SoftPC emulation software. It demonstrates how an ion-selective membrane separating two different salt solutions automaticallygenerates a potential across the membrane, as well as how such electrical potentials can be measured simply and the underlying permeability ratio determined. The program was developed to replace a previous experiment with actual artificial resin membranes; virtually every feature of the experiment has been simulated (e.g., unstirred-layer effects, solutionmixing contamination, liquid junction potential effects). In addition, a number of these features and the procedure for data fitting are more clearly demonstrated using the computer simulation. The efficacy of such a simulation is discussed in comparison with the real experiment and other types of simulations.


Physiology teaching Computer simulation Membrane potentials Computer programs 


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter H. Barry
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Physiology and PharmacologyUniversity of New South WalesKensingtonAustralia

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